Posted in theology

Jesus is…

By Elizabeth Prata

Jesus is greater than Moses (Hebrews 3:3)

Jesus is greater than the temple (Matthew 12:6)

Jesus is greater than Jonah Matthew 12:41,42

Jesus is greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42)

Job Says There Is No Arbitrator between God and Man

1Then Job answered, 2“In truth I know that this is so; But how can a man be in the right before God? 3“If one wished to dispute with Him, He could not answer Him once in a thousand times. 4“Wise in heart and mighty in strength, Who has defied Him without harm? 5“It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how, When He overturns them in His anger; 6Who shakes the earth out of its place, And its pillars tremble;

7Who commands the sun not to shine, And sets a seal upon the stars; 8Who alone stretches out the heavens And tramples down the waves of the sea; 9Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, And the chambers of the south; 10Who does great things, unfathomable, And wondrous works without number. 11“Were He to pass by me, I would not see Him; Were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him. 12“Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’

13“God will not turn back His anger; Beneath Him crouch the helpers of Rahab. 14“How then can I answer Him, And choose my words before Him? 15“For though I were right, I could not answer; I would have to implore the mercy of my judge. 16“If I called and He answered me, I could not believe that He was listening to my voice. 17“For He bruises me with a tempest And multiplies my wounds without cause.

29“I am accounted wicked, Why then should I toil in vain? 30“If I should wash myself with snow And cleanse my hands with lye, 31Yet You would plunge me into the pit, And my own clothes would abhor me. 32“For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, That we may go to court together. 33“There is no umpire between us, Who may lay his hand upon us both.

34“Let Him remove His rod from me, And let not dread of Him terrify me. 35“Then I would speak and not fear Him; But I am not like that in myself.

Job keenly felt the gap between himself as sinner and God as holy. He knew there was an insurmountable chasm between him and the Holy One in heaven. How to overcome this? Job could see no way. He pleaded for an umpire to be the bridge between man and God.

Jesus is that umpire. He is our advocate before God and defender against satan. The cross is His bridge that lays one hand on our shoulder and the other on God’s. Take a moment today to reflect on Christ’s work on earth and in heaven. Think of His unfathomable love for us, He who lived on earth with sinners, died an excruciating death, and ascended in flesh to live in heaven as man-God forever. When Job passed into glory, he finally met his umpire, the Christ. We will too. What a day that will be.

Posted in theology

James Coates addresses TMS grads: “I can’t think of a better time to be stepping into pulpits”

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

The Master’s Seminary had its annual graduation ceremony this past weekend. TMS is a premier seminary in the United States, where Dr. John MacArthur was its President from 1985 to 2019, and now is the seminary’s Chancellor. The goal since the Seminary’s founding was and is to produce men of the Word, men of courage and conviction to preach that word – in season and out of season.

Increasingly, we are learning that this season is an ‘out of season’ time for the people of God. The darkness is encroaching, and not stealthily, either, but boldly and wantonly. Bible, God, Jesus, slaying sin, repentance, grace, forgiveness, anything gentle, is anathema to the world. It is a world where the promises in Romans 1 are evidently seen, a world where…

“…they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a depraved mind, to do those things that are not proper, people having been filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unfeeling, and unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:18-32).

A world where despite the assurances written in a Constitution or Charter, religion is suppressed and pastors are arrested. Where under cover of the pandemic, tyrants use the health guidelines to marginalize the people of God out of the public square and we become enemy #1 if we dare gather.

What does one say to a group of men who entered seminary 4 or 5 years ago and starry eyed, pressed on with studies hoping to make a difference for the kingdom of God? Who now see lions at the gate, enemies calling themselves Christians, and demons coming to the fore?

You get graduate James Coates to share some encouragement. Dr Coates is a TMS grad from ten years ago and has been serving as pastor ever since. He has been at ground zero on the battlefield of truth these last 6 months, as Edmonton, Alberta Canada has tried to put a stranglehold around him and his people and shut them down. Health rules you know, even though the v.irus is dying out and deaths are minimal. Refusing to still his tongue and strongly committed to proclaiming holy truths to a sinful society, Coates was arrested and jailed. He spent time in a maximum security jail, and was recently released but only for his trial.

This past weekend another pastor was arrested, Artur Pawlowski of Calgary, also in Alberta. He had refused the same restrictions as Coates, enforcing mask wearing and reduced building capacity limits. His confrontation with police who’d entered his Easter Sunday Service went viral. The police tried several other times to enter, harass, and restrict Pawlowski’s services, even though religious services are protected under Canadian Charter. So this weekend they just simply arrested him like a dog on the road, instead.

Copyright Artur PawlowskiTV/Youtube

What do you do where it’s a Braveheart scene…where the enemy is picking up speed and gaining like-minded cohorts, trampling onto sacred ground? A pastor’s job is to hold the ground. We pierce them not with weapons but with the Word of God. We stare steely-eyed into the whites of their eyes, proclaiming the truths of God until our throat is raw or our tongue is stilled in death. We stand our ground.

Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:14-17).

In other words, Pastors, stand your ground!

Here is the link to Pastor Coates’ The Master’s Seminary graduation address. It is encouraging! Please click on the link to listen. Below is an extended quote from the video, which is about 6 minutes long. LINK HERE

"The reality is that there were many moments in preparation for that time when I'd have to choose imprisonment to obey Jesus Christ. Those moments along the way required conviction, resolve, and a steadfast desire and commitment to do what the Lord would require of me. Every moment counts. Every moment along the way was a moment of preparation, so by the time I got to the point where I'd have to choose whether I was going to keep my comforts or stay in obedience to Christ, it was already settled. It wasn't easy, it was difficult, it came in the face of fear and trembling. But the Lord at each point assisted me with a conviction to know what it was He was calling me to do as well as the grace to carry it out. ... You need to resolve in your heart to obey Christ no matter what the cost...and to be faithful all the way to the end."
"We need men of conviction, we need men who are going to stand firmly upon the scriptures. We need men who are resolved to obey Christ- no matter the cost, and the cost in increasing, you know that. ... It's a more hostile world than the world I stepped into ten years ago."
"Even as I call you in this moment to be men of courage and resolve with kindness it's going to have to be with graciousness and patience. The call to be faithful and committed and obedient is not a call to be cantankerous. It is a call to be like Christ, bearing the fruit of the Spirit in your obedience." 
"I can't think of a better time to be stepping into pulpits in the US and all over the world, and a better time to exposit the scriptures with clarity, accuracy, and conviction. I'm excited for you. "
"Glorify God, give your life for Christ. Preach the word with boldness and conviction. Let the word of Christ govern your life."  ---end excerpt James Coates video.

Lades, if your husband is in any way ministering as elder, pastor, teacher, church planter, missionary, in any way, it is our call to be supportive, gracious, forgiving, and steady. He is on that battlefield staring at hostiles much of the time. The future is uncertain, especially for Christian ministers in Canada and of course elsewhere. He needs a safe space at home. He needs a refuge. He needs to know that one person will always be on his side. It’s our duty and privilege as help-meet. It’s always nice to come home to a neat house, warm dinner, and loving wife, but especially now when the battle ‘out there’ is rising. Nurture him, listen to him, go the extra mile for him.

Even more important, we women also need the word of God so that we can also stand strong on the day we might meet a fork in the road and called to count a cost. Erin Coates did when police chained her husband and carted him off. Marzena Pawlowski did when they handcuffed her husband Artur Pawlowski and carted him off. Wives, be ready. Only the word of God can ready us for that moment. As James Coates said in his video, resolve in your heart, nurture your convictions, and stand. Let the Lord prepare you and stare strongly into the future, which is bright with opportunity to proclaim Light to a darkening world.

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Posted in theology

Despite evil days, the word spreads

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s evil days. The Bible tells us that. And we only need look at both secular and Christian news sites to see it playing out in living color before our eyes. It’s enough to get a person down. We get concerned with the length of time it’s taking Jesus to return, with the church being increasingly persecuted, with pastors being arrested, or worries about getting the Word of God to the lost as countries either close due to Covid or from hatred of the Gospel.

Here are two encouragements for you. This set of verses from God’s word are but a few of the verses that tell us that no matter that satan’s efforts to try and thwart, interrupt, or block God’s plan, none of it will work. Satan tried six ways to Sunday in the Acts era of the first century church to get the word stopped, and it never worked for one second. We know what happened, the word went out MORE.

Acts 6:7 So the word of God continued to spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem grew rapidly, and a great number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Acts 19:20 So the word of the Lord powerfully continued to spread and prevail

Acts 12:24 But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.

Secondly, if you’re impacted too emotionally from the day’s news, then here is some good advice from Dan Crabtree at The Cripplegate with an article titled What to do with evil news. Here’s just a snippet-

Church history records more dark years than halcyon days. Persecution, slander, and mistreatment has always been par for the Christian course. Jesus told his disciples, “In this world you will have trouble…” (John 16:33), and he meant it. Heads are still on the menu. ... 
Brothers and sisters, we are surrounded with bad news about the evil that permeates this world. Given the dominance of Satan’s handiwork in the headlines, it would be so easy to despair. To get angry. To embitter. To whip someone online with a fresh one-liner because you’ve just had enough. But King David has a better way for us.

Take heart, if you are in the Lord, you are IN the Lord! 1 John 4:4 says, You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

Posted in theology

Question: Why was David a man after God’s own heart?

By Elizabeth Prata

Did you ever wonder why was David called a man after God’s own heart?

After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.’ (Acts 13:22).

But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:14).

A man after mine own heart – This expression is found in 1 Samuel 13:14. The connection shows that it means simply a man who would not be rebellious and disobedient as Saul was, but would do the will of God and keep his commandments. This refers, doubtless, rather to the public than to the private character of David; to his character as a king. It means that he would make the will of God the great rule and law of his reign, in contradistinction from Saul, who, as a king, had disobeyed God.” (Barnes’ Notes)

At the same time it is true that the prevailing character of David, as a pious, humble, devoted man, was that he was a man after God’s own heart, and was beloved by him as a holy man. He had faults; he committed sin; but who is free from it? He was guilty of great offences; but he also evinced, in a degree equally eminent, repentance (see Psalm 51); and not less in his private than his public character did he evince those traits which were prevailingly such as accorded with the heart, that is, the earnest desires, of God.” ( end Barnes’ Notes)

“In the Psalms, we see the heart of a penitent unveiled and in that I think we see most clearly the greatness of David the Great. If you read Psalm 51 and read it carefully and thoughtfully, that Psalm will reveal more than anything else in the history of David why David was called a man after God’s own heart. Because here it reveals the broken heart of a sinful man who sees his sin clearly.”

RC Sproul: A Man after God’s Own Heart
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Posted in go in and com out, I am the door, threshing floor, winepress

Jesus is the Door: They will go in and come out

By Elizabeth Prata*

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says:

Many who hear the word of Christ, do not understand it, because they will not. But we shall find one scripture expounding another, and the blessed Spirit making known the blessed Jesus. Christ is the Door. And what greater security has the church of God than that the Lord Jesus is between it and all its enemies? He is a door open for passage and communication. Here are plain directions how to come into the fold; we must come in by Jesus Christ as the Door. By faith in him as the great Mediator between God and man.

What does ‘go in and come out’ mean? Is it that we will go in and come out of salvation? Not so! Our salvation is eternally secure.
Continue reading “Jesus is the Door: They will go in and come out”

Posted in discernment, theology

Testimony from an ex-Beth Moore follower: Lessons about Jesus, but not Jesus Himself

This precious sister whose Twitter handle is CaDaisygirl (@CaDaisygirl), wrote a heartfelt thread about her time when she had followed false teacher Beth Moore. We know and understand that Moore and other false teachers affect a denomination. Their damage impacts wide swathes of professing and true believers. The damage is real.

But what of the lone woman, wandering in a maze of doubt, loneliness, perplexity? What of the negative influence on a woman’s life when she seeks the true Jesus, but isn’t taught? What of her private and individual pain? What happens when the Gospel isn’t even part of the conversation?

Here is CaDaisygirl’s testimony. She asks “that we together remain in prayer that these words would be used to glorify Jesus and bring others out of darkness and into His truth and glorious light. I by no means desire to wound anyone, rather I desire that we learn to put our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

—————Testimony—————

I was praying about and for Beth Moore last night and checking my heart in this debate. I followed Beth for many years, a staunch supporter. I read her books, did her studies, and followed her blog.

I realize now that what captured me was, well, quite frankly, Beth.

She was witty, interesting, beautiful, and had that Southern charm. Being her fan was being part of a beautiful club of engaging women who were being drawn towards Jesus. I was a much less mature Christian in those days, and hadn’t yet encountered the depravity of my sin.

From her studies, I learned I was “broken” and a “mess” and that Jesus could fix my messiness, but what I realized in my prayer time last night was that, in all the books I read, and all the studies I did, I was never lead to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Nowhere did I read that my brokenness and messiness was actually rebellion against God and His Word. Nowhere did I read that the flesh must be crucified with Christ, and it was no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2:20.

Beth’s teachings dance around this concept, but never fully engage it. That is why they are so dangerous. They make you feel good to know about Jesus, without ever directing you how to know Him as Lord and Savior through repentance and surrender and obedience to His Word.

Her teachings are emotional and easy on the soul, but if a non-believer were to study them all, would they know, in the end, what is required to have a saving faith in Christ? Are her followers being drawn into a superficial knowledge of Jesus rather than a saving knowledge of Him?

That is my question and my fear, and that is why I feel compelled to speak about a ministry I so dearly loved at one time. We must use discernment in this day and age. No matter how charming a teacher may be, are they pointing us to salvation?

Are they pointing us to surrender, obedience to God’s Word, and crucifying of the flesh? Are they teaching us to die to self and live for Christ?

If not, why not?

—————End of Testimony—————

I praise the Lord that He draws women out of darkness. Those who follow false teachers are either given over to the lusts that allowed their desires to cloud the truth and they keep heaping up the teachers that speak to those desires, (2 Timothy 4:3) or they are brought out of darkness into the light, seeing satan for the masquerading minister of light that he actually is. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

We warn because of women who wander and remain broken but unaware of their true state and waxing worse due to the false teachers. We warn because of women who are being taught that Jesus is an add-on to their life, a fixer, but who remain unknowing of Him as savior and Lord.

I’m grateful for testimonies as grace-filled as CaDaisygirl’s is. Of her extolling Jesus who saves, who purifies His Bride. I pray her words will help another woman out there who wonders… ‘I’m broken and messy, but why aren’t I ‘fixed’?’ and that she finds true solace in repentance and glorifying Jesus for who He really is.

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Posted in theology

How to refresh yourself in times of controversy

By Elizabeth Prata

Need to take a breath and reset? Refresh?

I always find that delving into the biblical doctrine of heaven helps me. Asking the Lord to renew to my mind the facts and glories of our upcoming destination is a great salve to my soul. This world is so awful and getting worse by the day. I mean, of course there’s beauty, and I strive to focus on that. Salvations, baptism, good preaching, flowers, fellowship, green pastures, gentle rain, grazing animals, all that-God’s grace in gifts to us.

But there’s all the other things we know too well and don’t need enumerating. Heartbreaks, death, illness, degeneration of the social compact, politics, news bias, rebellion, plain grossness…all that and more, tend to weigh us down.

So, look UP! Look away from all this to where there is purity and perfect peace.

I believe that John MacArthur’s series on What Heaven Is, is a wonderful break from pain, hubbub, and distractions. There are 8 messages, here. Also linked individually below. Some of the topics covered are- Where heaven is and what it is like, What you’ll be like in eternity, How you will relate to others, How you will relate to God, What you will do in heaven, and more. In the first sermon in the series, Dr. MacArthur said,

As I mentioned to you this morning, we’re going to start a series tonight on a new subject.  The subject is heaven.  And this is not going to be a like a sermon series, in many ways, but more like a class, at least tonight will be.  I want to teach you what the Bible has to say by way of introduction to the subject of heaven.

So, when you think about heaven, you’re identifying the place where your Father is, your Savior is, your brothers and sisters are, your name is there, your inheritance is there, your citizenship is there, your reward is there, your Master is there, of course, being God and Christ, and your treasure is there as well.  To sum it up: heaven is your home.

Before I moved from one town to another, as I have, I loved learning all I could about my upcoming new home. I looked up stats on the new town, looked for photos of the place, went to real estate sites to see houses, scanned Google Maps at street view to learn what it looked like. It’s only natural that we have a curiosity about where will will devote our time, skills, and money. We want to know what it will be like where we will raise our children, work, contribute to the community.

How much more then, should we be anticipating heaven? This biblical series may bless you as it did me, and illuminate the glorious future we all have there. Whether by imminent rapture, passing through the gate of death, we who are in Christ will be there one day. Anticipating that day helps us cope with this day, in a more peaceful and confident way.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What Heaven Is

Where Heaven Is and What It Is Like

The New Jerusalem

What We Will Be Like

How We Will Relate to One Another

How We Will Relate to God

What We Will Do, Part 1

What We Will Do, Part 2

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Posted in theology

The Day of the Rapture is ever nearer

By Elizabeth Prata

The rapture will happen, and every day that passes makes it one day closer.*

There are some people who say that we should not say it is near, and they cite Mark 13:32, where it says ‘no one knows the day nor hour’. Or they cite 1 Thessalonians 5:1 where Paul said the day of the Lord will be as a thief in the night, a surprise. Or they cite Acts 1:7, where we are told we will not know the times or dates God has set by His own authority.

They are right.

If you meet up with anyone who knows the time, hour, or day, run, for they are false.

In Luke 12 beginning in verse 35 there is a section called “Watchfulness”. Jesus says, “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,” and later in vs. 37 He says, “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.

So when you try to relate the imminence of the times don’t let anyone brush you off from speaking of it with the old chestnut, “we do not know the day nor hour” (Unless you have just told them a day or an hour.)

Others claim that the rapture as a doctrine is made-up, won’t happen, and is a false thing to believe. People who say that use a faulty hermeneutic, and thus have arrived at a false notion of things. It’s sad, because hermeneutics is a moral issue, being that it involves how one handles scripture and how the result of that handling makes one think of the Savior’s character and promises. No, the Bride will not be enduring God’s wrath at the Tribulation and she won’t be dragged through the mud during the worst time on earth. Paul explained the rapture to his people at Thessalonica and said to be encouraged by it. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).

I feel the time is getting very close. I see the geo-political platform of the pieces coming together, the days and years passing, and I want to say WAKE UP!” “BE READY!”

I know so many people who are not ready. I have a near relative who has passed on. It seems he was never ready and likely dwells in hell now. Do I want my loved ones or friends to die apart from Jesus? No. Do I want my relatives or friends to go through the Tribulation, which will happen after the Rapture? No. I don’t want even my worst enemy to face the living hell of God’s wrath on earth, nor His wrath in eternity forever. The burden for the lost is heavy.

The world’s depravity is worsening by the day, but we knew that already. Paul told Timothy that the deception of men would wax worse and worse. (2 Timothy 3:13). Jesus said that things would get worse, and love would grow cold. (Matthew 24:12).

While the Lord may choose to defuse the situation on the earth and everything go back to something akin to normal or at least less depraved, that is His prerogative in His timing, but would He? Though God could certainly pull everything back from the brink, it is not probable, based on the verses above. Genesis 6:5 says

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

That’s how it is, the longer man goes without God, the worse his culture gets. It’s always a downward spiral. See: Judges.

In his essay What is This World Coming To? Exactly What Jesus Said it Would by Stephen Altrogge-

I would venture to say that many conservative television shows, and radio shows, and blogs, and podcasts, perpetuate the “what is this world coming to?” attitude. It’s not uncommon for talk radio hosts to spend three hours lamenting the decay of morals in the world. But we shouldn’t be shocked or dismayed. The world is coming to exactly what Jesus said it would come to, and this actually gives us a lot of hope.

We can be dismayed over a culture that is gross and depraved, as ours is in the United States, but if we are going to lament, let’s lament the destiny of those without Christ. This world is not our home. However, we can hope in Him, that all His promises are true. The world is getting worse, yes, Jesus said so. However He will return, He said so.

What this adds up to is the final decision. A person must decide if they will acknowledge their sins against Jesus and ask Him to forgive them, or not. Not doing so means they will be left behind when He comes very soon for us. The Bible says it’s imminent. Worse, the day of a person’s death is unknown to him, and if he or she should die without Christ, they will be lost forever.

There is no sin you have committed in your life that Jesus will not forgive! The only unforgivable sin is refusing His pardon for your sins. He loves you and wants to take care of you and bless you and treasure you. He wants to save you and lavish love on you and adopt you. Yes, YOU!

Though Jesus could settle the world and wait another 10-20-50 years, I truly think He will not. I really think that it’s close. I’ve been saying this for ten years and I’ll go on saying it for another 40, or as long as the Lord’s days of my life haven’t reached their number.

As Altrogge says

The good news is that, in spite of the wickedness which fills the world, the gospel of Jesus Christ will continue saving sinners! Yes, evil is powerful, but Jesus is more powerful! Yes, Satan prowls about like a roaring lion, but Jesus is the great lion slayer. Jesus encouraged Peter that the church would not be overcome, and would even stand against hell itself

Repent, for the kingdom of Jesus is at hand.

Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;e repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14b-15)

*A version of this essay appeared on The End Time in February 2012. It’s been edited and changed.

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